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UNDERSTAND
Chapter 6: A Professional Website

A Blog or a ‘web log’ is a specific form of website. It is inherently interactive, using a content management system to capture a log of your online posts. These days it can be confusing because Blog software is being marketed as website software, and while this is doable, it may or may not be the best idea for your business. Most blogs were intended to allow posting from a main author with comments or feedback from the readers. Blogs come with a variety of features that make it easy to post important things like links, pictures, video links from YouTube, etc. Blogs often have a rigid design because they are formatted from templates. Most blog software systems today though, are relatively flexible and a good designer can customize it to match your website or other marketing materials. The Explore section of this chapter should help you determine if you need a blog, a website or both.

 

Online listings are another form of Internet presence, and while I highly recommend these, I don’t think they are a replacement for a website for your business. These can be great sources for traffic generation to your site and they certainly help out search engines to identify your site as important. Some examples of online local listings include CitySearch, UrbanSpoon, the Better Business Bureau and Service Magic. Please note that some of these are member organizations that require a fee to join, but some others may be free. It is a good idea to do some research specific to your industry to determine good options for you. Consider some of the associations you may belong to as well as some of the groups or magazines you may subscribe to. Check out the chapter on Local SEO as well as our online resources for more ideas.

Online Advertising is a whole other beast and for the most part this book is not focused on it. There are a wide variety of books and resources on online advertising and what I will say is that you should focus on getting your online presence created before spending money on advertising. You will want to be extra sure that your site has people respond the right way before you pay to have them show up. If you are interested in having advertisements on your site, check out our Online Resources for a list of good options and some details about what to expect during the process.

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